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D One dead in violent weekend shooting in Paterson; Board of Education agrees to arm school officers

GLENN TOWNES Special to the AmNews | 6/27/2013, 12:36 p.m.

Just one day after officials at the Paterson Board of Education voted to re-arm security officers who patrol the schools, one person was killed and four others were injured during a weekend of violence in Paterson, N.J.

According to reports, police are investigating what appears to be a random shooting spree during the early morning hours of Saturday. Police said at least two gunmen on foot appeared outside of a home on Park Avenue and East 22nd Street and started shooting into a crowd of people. One woman died, and three others--two females and a male--were seriously injured.

It's unclear if any of the victims were specifically targeted. However, according to police officials and some residents, the block is a major drug trafficking area.

The wave of weekend violence comes after officials with the Paterson Board of Education agreed to rescind an earlier decision to disarm about a dozen retired police officers who patrol the grounds of the city's various public schools. Currently, about 50 unarmed officers patrol the school; 200 security guards and 12 off-duty police officers man the schools. Earlier this year, the Paterson Board of Education opted to disarm the police officers, citing, at least in part, financial concerns.

Some bloggers have weighed in on the board's decision. One posted, "They need to get Mr. Clark back there," referring to revered former Paterson High School principal Joe Clark, who used to patrol the school hallways with a baseball bat.

Another posted, "Being armed doesn't make the kids safe. These armed officers are retired and their reflexes are slower. What's to stop a kid from grabbing a gun from the officer?"

Paterson is the third largest city in New Jersey and often ranks as one of the most violent and dangerous places in the state. Police have made no arrests in the shootings.